Friday, January 29, 2010

The Backpack Girl

I bought Viva this backpack at Christmas time, from Amazon, because it was 1) Fancy Nancy, 2) Shiny Pink, 3) Glittery, and 4) only $5.99!  For some reason I had the impression it was a little kid size backpack.  Uhmmmm... no.  I debated giving it away versus giving it to her, but decided she'd probably love it despite my size confusion.  Sure enough.  The big size isn't going to deter this little girl from her big fancy pink backpack! She looks silly, but she loves it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday

It's been a busy week!  We're thankful for...

family.  Aunt Jean is here to visit and the kids love her company!

libraries.  We're lucky to have such a great resource available to us.  We enjoy visiting and finding new books

teeth!  Bentley had his first trip to the dentist, all 20 teeth got a thumbs up.  A good experience!

music.  We took the kids out to eat (all 3 at once, a first for us outside of vacation meals!) and listen to some Folk Festival entertainment.  Outside of the fact that they played rather bawdy music it was all good - the kids seemed quite entranced.

hearts.  Heart foam, heart bead ornaments, heart cookies... we're in heart mode around here with Valentine's Day as the next major holiday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More Crafty Time

We're in love with foam art.  I think I've mentioned that?  It's cheap, it's easy to clean up, and it occupies little minds for quite a few minutes at a time.  It's also great for their small motor development (I like to think!!!).  They can get the backs off the little shapes, use tooth picks to get the pieces separated, and then create some indent pointillism art on their shapes.  It's all good.

We've also been enjoying quite a bit of beading work.  Pipe cleaners and pony beads = beautiful ornaments for our Valentine's Day tree.  I'll have to put a poster of this lovely beyond compare (it's tinsel!  it's pink!  it has lights!) tree when we have it completely decked out.  Every day or 2 the kids are ready to make more beaded hearts for it.  Whatever will we do when it's time to move on to the next holiday?  Beaded shamrocks might be beyond my skills... !  On a (slightly) more serious note, however, we are having a lot of fun!  This is one of the first crafty type projects that Jake seems quite taken with.  He loves stringing beads, and he's pretty fast at it too!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Girl and her Brothers

Okay.  I let Jake have his moment in the spot light.  Here's adorable times 2!  Sometimes they even run around and dance together... think they can cut it as competitive ballroom dancers?  If you get 5 points just for cute I think we're off to a good start (in my unbiased opinion, of course).

If Jake doesn't work out, with the dancing thing, Viva is lucky enough to have an alternative partner.  They are awfully cute together too, I think.  They might have to work on coordinating their clothes, but we can do that!

Dapper Jake

Because it's not JUST Viva who gets all fancy looking!  Check out this gorgeous dude.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Conversations from today

Walking into church, Viva was checking out the picture of Christ knocking at the door:

"Mommy, Jesus is STILL knocking at the door!!!".

Walking down the hall in church, as we're getting ready to leave because the twins are having melt downs in nursery.  I asked Viva why she didn't want to say in nursery:

"There's no liquor there!".

And, yes, people heard her.  Sheeesh!  She really needs to work on her licorice word pronunciation.  Could be hard to explain the liquor thing... :-)

Jake, during the ENTIRE Sacrament meeting:

"I am ALL done with nursery.  No more.  Take me home" (sorry kid, you have almost a full year more to go!).

Bentley, in the car, having a conversation with me about his birthday cake.  I asked what kind he wants:

"One with NO frosting, Mommy".

Okay, I guess.... but what KIND of cake do you want?

"A yellow cake!"

I was okay with that, although puzzling how to decorate the yellow cake without frosting (it feels wrong!).

Then he changed his mind:

"Maybe an orange cake.  Or blue?"

I guess he didn't know yellow was a flavor.  I thought he was being extra cake savvy, but really we were just playing a color game!

Tutu too too much fun?!

Genevieve has a new tutu! And, thankfully, she's gotten over her fear of tulle. This tutu came to us courtesy of my secret life as a Coupon Diva. It is very fluffy, perhaps Genevieve can sense it was made by a pro and not the work of her ameuter Mom? Who knows... in any case, she was running around the kitchen in it and asked Opa to take her picture!  She was (and is) quite adorable in it.  She stood, she lounged, she propped her head upon her chin - she's got lots of moves.

And, of course, like all the best models she has a trademark grin.  Check out this big cheesy smile!  Love it!

If I wasn't a KIND Mother, I would also share some pictures of 2 other little tykes in the house who think this new tutu is just "all that".  But, I do have compassion.  So for the sake of their older selves, and for the sake of their father, not a single picture was taken.  But it will be hard to forget the joyful bouncing through the house, tutu all a ruffling, that I saw.  From 3 little cherubs.  :-)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Viva - my future (and current) trouble maker!

My children don't sleep at night.  I'm sure there is a reason why that I should know, but I'm just not getting it yet.  I'll have to keep pondering it.

The other night (close to midnight) Viva was still jumping off the top of her bed onto the blankets and cushions below, and singing songs to keep her brothers awake.  It's not always just her, mind you, but she's impossible to repress.  That's a good AND a bad thing, I suppose!

So this week I decided to try some negative reinforcement.  Forget sticker charts where you earn stars.  I came up with a chart where you get a big letter X if you  misbehave.  Four Xs?  Depending on the kid there are different negative ramifications.

I know, I know.  A bit much for the 2 1/2 year olds.  But Bentley seems to "get it" so that's a start....

Viva, however, totally does NOT get it.  We reviewed the chart right before lights out.  I said:

"Viva, if you get four Xs that means you don't get to pick a story at bedtime tomorrow."

she looked at me, with a blank *so*? expression...

so I upped the ante

"Viva - if you get four Xs I'm going to take ALL your princess stuff away tomorrow"

what did she tell me?

"Oh!  I have princess stuff at Grandma Karen's too"

she then provided some specific details, so I'd know what all to collect if I need to take it all away.  Seems I really phased her, huh?

I headed out of the room.  Not too much later I was called back.  Too much singing and not enough sleeping. I gave them Xs.

After her first X I ramped up my threat:

"Viva, if I have to come back in here you're getting another X AND a spanking".

Guess what?  I had to head back in.  Bentley banged on the door to let me know Viva had pulled Jake's hair.

"Viva, did you pulll Jake/s hair?"

"Yep!  I get a spanking AND an X!!!"  (said with great cheer)

I provided a spank, told her I'd be updating her chart, and headed out.  She said:

"Is that all??"

I heard banging on the door as soon as I left.  She was at the door:

"I want to SEE the X on my chart!!!"

Uhmmm.... no.  I told her to go lay down.  Apparently we parted on good terms, because her closing comment was:

"Mommy, I want to play our new cherries and apples (Hi Ho Cherry O) game in the morning!"

Really.  I don't think she's getting it.  At all.

Note: I realize I also come off as slightly delusional/aka not getting it here.... but sometimes I feel compelled to try SOMETHING!  And participation/buy in from 1 out of 3 is a start.... right?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday

We (or me?  some me and some us!) are thankful for...

snow!  It's nice to have different seasons to appreciate and play in during the year.

adventures!  Daddy does a great job making time for all of the kids to get 1-on-1 time with him.  It's appreciated by them (and me).

friends & family!  We had a fun day with Aunt Karla & Cheyenne on Monday, and we've been enjoying play time with Patrick and Cassidy.  It's good to stay in touch with the rest of the world....

birthdays and holidays!  Bentley is quite enjoying anticipating his birthday.  When you're little I think that's half the fun (or more?).  We're also enjoying the fun of art for Valentine's Day - it might still be three weeks away, but we've been enjoying the thought of it almost every day through our creations.  It's good to have the small pleasures - aka the chance to look forward to events.

Speaking of Glasses...

the kids went out to play with Grandma today, and they insisted on wearing their shades to protect their eyes from that bright Alaskan sun!  I love kids in snow suits.  they look so unusually round....

They love the snow, I need to get them out there more often!  The boys like to shovel.  I imagine in a year or two they'll be expert fort builders?  We certainly have enough snow around here to do the job... !

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fashion Statement

Grandma's toddler sun glasses collection is still a big hit around here.  What do you do when you have more pairs to wear than children to wear them?  You quadruple up, of course.  Very stylish.  I think someone has been reading you can never have too many accessories (Fancy Nancy says so)!

Those Darn Kids...

Kids say the funniest things!  I love all the "personality" that is showing through now that they are able to express themselves.  (Edit:  I normally, during the hours of the day they are SUPPOSED to be awake, love this personality explosion!  20 minutes ago - 11:30 pm - Viva was still signing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam.  Sheesh!).

So here's some of their more amusing words as of late:

Viva, whenever she wishes to express agreement, says "mmmmm, hmmmm!".  Half of the cute factor is the tone she has down for it.

Jake, whenever he wants to say yes, gets tripped up by his 2 year old self.  No comes out first, followed quickly by a yes.  It's like he just can't help himself.  No is his instinctive response, and then when his brain has a moment to consider the question he can give his final answer!

Bentley, when he is not happy with whatever I say (which is often!), tells me "I have a PLAN - listen".  And then he shares a plan which normally centers around his belief that he, not I, am really the one in charge.  And sometimes I have a hunch (which I don't share with him, of course!) that he might be correct.  Uh oh!

On how gory young children can be:

Bentley (& Jake & Viva to be honest) like to shoot.  They don't have guns.  I don't have a specific anti-gun policy, although I don't really like the idea of toy guns.  I'm more in favor of medieval weapons only in the house.  We have axes and swords!  But, back on topic.  Shooting.  They point their little fingers and make a nice "pssshew, psssshew" sound.  Which I assume is the noise for the trigger being pulled.  On one occasion I told Bentley that if he didn't knock if off, and head straight to time out, I might take the Kung Fu Panda Wii game and break it in half.  What did he tell me?  "Mommy, if you do that, I'll tell Daddy to throw you out a window so a moose can stomp on you".

Sheeeesh!  I know it's not appropriate to laugh when they say things like this.  But you have to wonder where they come up with it.  I promise they haven't been watching any violent TV or movies, and we don't read those kind of books!  I think the young creative little boy mind comes up with these things all on its own.  Fascinating AND scary!

Speaking of violence!  Last night I was summoned to the room because of Jake's crying.  Jake informed me Bentley had bit him.  I asked Bentley if this was true, and he said "maybe".  So I asked Viva, who concurred with Jake's story.  I sent Bentley to time out, and then we asked Jake to show us the bite marks.  First, when we asked "where did Bentley bite you?", he said "I don't know".  Upon further prompting?  "Maybe the bite marks have already faded".  Seriously.  That's what the 2 year old said!  So did he or did he not get bitten?  We'll never know.

During prayer the other night Bentley said he was thankful for Jake, because Jake bit Viva.  Viva interrupted the prayer with "no!  we are not thankful for that.  that was VERY naughty and VERY VERY not nice!".  As least one of them has the house rules down pat.

It's not always violence and gore though!  Last week Viva was feeling poorly, and I had to take her sheets/blankets/pillow case and throw it all in the washer after she spit up on it.  She was quite unhappy about not having HER blankets, and kept throwing off what was offered.  Bentley spent a while trying to convince her that the new loaner blankets were awfully nice and fuzzy, but when that didn't work what did he do?  He gave her his favorite fuzzy Thomas blanket to sleep with.  (and she accepted it, she knew it was a good offer!).  He's a sweetie!

But back to the gore.  Viva likes to ask Great-Grandma: "When are you going to have your other knee cut open so you can get a new one put in"??  She's waiting for Great-Grandma version 2.0 who can run and jump still.  :-)

And there it is.  Some thoughts and words from the minds of my almost 4 year old and 2 1/2 year olds.  I imagine they get even more entertaining with age?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Opa!

Today was Opa's birthday!  We won't say how old he is, but suffice it to say he is still quite young.  :-)

The kids are very excited about birthdays now that they're getting a bit older and have some memories to pull from.  Yesterday evening they checked in to make sure Opa was getting a cake (Red Velvet!), and what's more?  They wanted to know exactly what time today we'd get to eat it.

This morning Viva woke up, and when I asked her what today was she knew it was Opa's birthday!  She headed downstairs right away to say Happy Birthday.  What a sweet girl.

They are also concerned about presents.  They like to see gifts being opened.  So today the twins helped me wrap up Opa's gift, and then Jake informed me that we needed to get Opa a balloon.  Off to the store we went!  Viva picked a card, all on her own, and Jake picked the balloon.

We had roladin, dumplings, and red cabbage (Opa's traditional birthday dinner).  All 3 kids liked the meat, but apparently the texture of dumplings isn't all that in the eyes of the toddlers.  More for us, right?  After dinner we had cake and presents.  Then Bentley suggested that Opa might want to watch some Dr. Who (they know it's a favorite show of his) - off they went downstairs!

We hope you had a fun birthday, Opa!  Thanks for being so good to us, we love having you around!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This week we are....

thankful for the sun?  We haven't seen it much yet but that makes us anticipate it's arrival all the more.  The kids have park time on the brain, but when we venture outside they want to go back in - they're not "real" Alaskans yet I guess.  :-)

still loving eggnog!  It's about at the end of it's season, but it was a good run for Jake & Viva.  At the store earlier today Jake said "I want to go home and have a glass of eggnog!".  It's quite the favorite.

happy to have Great-Grandma home.  We missed her!

thankful for our health.  We've been relatively healthy and happy for weeks now - that's some kind of record, right?!  (Knock on wood)

loving Memory and our new Match Up game.  We've been playing some of the fun new games the kids received for Christmas, they're really into games right now!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Grandma Vicki's Visit

Grandma Vicki came to visit us for 5 days at Christmas time, and we all had a delightful time!  The kids spent the entire week before her visit checking in, daily, about when she'd be arriving (time is still a little relative to them I guess?!).

What fun did Grandma Vicki have?  We opened presents, sang songs, read lots and lots of books with us, brought some fun new crafts, played with our new duplos, trekked out with us for  long walks to the mailbox, played some Wii, and in general helped with the care & feeding of the wild animals (thanks, Grandma!)!

We had a great time and are already looking forward to the next visit!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tub Time

When we first moved into our new house, all three kids liked taking a bath in our big Jacuzzi tub. Jake disliked the jets, so he always got out before we turned them on. Lately however, he's unhappy about getting into the tub at all. When Bentley and Viva take a bath, Jake takes a shower (his preferred method of bathing) and then watches his siblings play in the tub. He really likes it when the Jacuzzi action produces big soap bubbles--as long as he's not in the tub.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

More Art Time!

Yesterday we found a great sale at a seasonal Christmas store in the mall, so we used some Christmas money from Uroma and Uropa to buy the kids a fancy new easel.  Last night was the fun of building it with toddler help (which has SOME fun moments and SOME that are not, at least according to Daddy!!!), and this morning we had the fun of using it.

Bentley did some stamping art, while the house was quiet and empty - the twins were off for a pancake breakfast at Ihop with Daddy and Uncle Ty.

A blank slate.

An artist at work.

The twins had a go at enhancing Bentley's drawing when he left the house - he headed out to "Arts Gone Wild" downtown with Daddy, and the twins and I did some art and then made cookies for the neighbors!

More artists at work.

Contemplating their beautiful creation.

Thanks, Urompa!  We're going to have fun with our new easel.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Artistic Vision

Last month the trio did a number of Christmas crafts. After almost every project it was easy to identify which toddler made which item because our young artists have definite styles. Bentley's artwork is organized. He's very precise and careful. Jake is a minimalist. Slap a few lines/sequins/foam pieces down and be done with it. Viva is a maximalist. More is better! (I did not make that word up. It really is an art term: "Maximalism celebrates richness and excess in graphic design.")

Given those facts, can you match the young artist to the artwork below?

Of course, the pink background was a dead giveaway. Viva always picks pink or purple if it is available. We don't encourage her to do this; it's her preference. There was only one light blue background and both boys wanted it. Bentley was a nice brother and let Jake have it.

Bentley also gave way to Jake's stubbornness earlier in the day when Jake had a meltdown because Bentley was putting on the socks with back hoes on them. The boys have four other pairs of socks with construction vehicles on them, but only the back hoes would do for Jake. It's sweet of Bentley to be nice to Jake and let him have what he wants, but is Jake going to take advantage of this and become even more demanding? Or is he just being a typical two and a half year old? (In which case it's a good thing Jake and Viva have very different tastes. Viva would not back down and be nice. They'd probably end up wrestling over the item.)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Thankful Thursday

It's been a few weeks, but nothing like a New Year to get back on track, right?!

This week we are...

thankful for snow!  We had a gorgeous snow day this week.  Now hopefully it will warm up so we can go outside and enjoy it for more than a few minutes.

thankful for Great-Grandma!  She's been on vacation in Utah and we miss having her around.  She'll be home soon!

thankful for FOAM!  Foam sticker art.  Cheap.  Easy.  Vastly entertaining to small children.  Comes in shapes for every holiday.  We love it.

thankful for Opa's bed time stories!  Daddy is in Barrow this week and Opa has done a great job with reading time for us.

thankful for Grandma's patience!  The kids have been crazed this week.  I don't know if it's coming off of the Christmas high or what, but they're crazy little creatures.  Grandma reads with us, gives extra hugs and kisses on demand, does puzzles, ... and so much more!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Scary Hair!

Because it wouldn't be fair to JUST post a picture of Viva, right?!  Here are 2 scary boys, who were quite eagerly (at least their Mother was eager!) awaiting the return of their hair stylist from her New York vacation!

Standing Still AND Smiling!

Because a girl can never have too many dresses, here's a picture of another one of them!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Traditions & Christmas Fun

I'm big on traditions.  I hear they're good for kids, and as humans in general are creatures that love the predictable, it seems like a win-win.  So to wrap up our "Christmas stories", I just wanted to throw out a few other things we squeezed in during December - and end with my angelic 3 year old's take on one of them (sarcasm alert).

So.  We made cookies together!  The kids didn't help with a whole lot of them, they're still kind of young.  We did, however, have a fun morning decorating sugar cookies with Patrick and Cassidy.  And the kids get partial credit for goodie plate delivery because it involved trekking to all corners of Anchorage while they were good sports and listened to Christmas music in the vehicle!

We also had fun doing gingerbread houses, with our buddies David and Daniel.  Next year the houses will probably be more inspiring as our design technique improves?  We can only hope (note: no picture!!!!).

The week of Christmas each of the kids went on a movie date with Daddy.  Bentley went to a special showing of the Polar Express downtown, and had the chance to meet Santa!  Viva and Jake both wanted to see the Frog Princess, so Matt watched it twice.  Lucky him!  A movie date would probably be a fun tradition of sorts, but probably not for the week of Christmas in the future... it was crazy around here!

Lastly, we took the kids out to view Christmas lights.  We saw some decent displays but next year we'll have to do our homework ahead of time so we know the very best places to hit.  Here's how the heartwarming family trip went, from the mouth of Bentley:

after five minutes... I’ve seen enough lights. Take me home now.

a few minutes later... My throat is really dry. I need water and milk. You better take me home now.

a few minutes later... I need to go home and take my shoes off, my foot has a pain in it.

a few minutes later... I’m going to chew on my coat until I puke all over, if you don’t take me home.

a few minutes later...  I need to go pee. Take me home right now before I have an accident

a few minutes later... I’m going to pee all over myself and my carseat if you don't take me home NOW!

a few minutes later...  Next time daddy and I go on an adventure, I want to go look at houses with lights on them. We’re going to take all the light down so nobody else has to look at them.

a few minutes later...  I’m going to take a big stick on my adventure to help get all the lights down.

Ahhhh.  What a charming child.  Note to concerned readers: he didn't really have to go pee.  And he wasn't feeling sick.  These were complaints all in his bag of tricks to try and get what he wanted.  Not that it worked.  But we did have to turn up the Christmas music!

Year 1 of Christmas Light viewing?  A rocky start.  Will we hang in there?  Of course!  I can't imagine how much more fun it will if the twins decide to chime in.  Good thing I'm in charge.  I think.  Right?!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Group Coloring Session...

3 children, 1 coloring book.  I'm surprised there wasn't a brawl!  Viva opened up her Sleeping Beauty coloring book (which Santa brought her) and immediately flipped through looking for all the pictures of the evil fairy to color in first.  Nice.  Jake & Bentley look concerned... maybe they should be, given her first focus?!